Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network

Devon County Council are refreshing their Cycling Strategy [Devon Cycle Strategy: The Next Period, November 2009] and a report on the the new Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy [Appendix 2 HERE] was an agenda item for the DCC Cabinet meeting on 08 April 2015.

The minutes of the meeting record:

The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment on the proposed, revised, Transport Infrastructure Plan and Cycle Strategy reflecting the new funding regime introduced for 2015/16 and the increased involvement of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in delivering transportation schemes, both of which complemented the Local Transport Plan for 2011-2026.

The suggested Transport Infrastructure Plan set out how the County Council would respond to the changes and detailed the infrastructure priorities for the period 2014-2030 while the new Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy prioritised future plans and proposals for developing the cycle and leisure route network, recognising the future financial challenges.

While recognising the work already undertaken across Devon to deliver high quality cycle routes, the Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention recognised the need not only to develop further projects to connect cycle routes to major development sites (and to have schemes ready to implement and when resources permitted) but also to respond to those concerns expressed at the use of and access to existing routes caused in part by their popularity and the work done generally to promote cycling in Devon.

The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, environmental impact, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Head of Service s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:

It was MOVED by Councillor Leadbetter, SECONDED by Councillor Hughes, and
RESOLVED that the revised Transportation Infrastructure Plan and the Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy be approved.

Exeter Civic Society questions DCC’s commitment to reduce congestion in Exeter, as is outlined in this press release. Contact details can be found at the end of the press release.

Now it seems Devon County Council is hoping to put forward a funding bid to improve cycling infrastructure to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership [HotSW LEP] which, if prioritised, would then be submitted as part of a wider bid to Government for Growth Deal funding.

As part of the preparation for this bid, DCC have just concluded a month-long public consultation exercise on Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network which ran from 14 July – 14 August 2014.

Details on this were available on the Express & Echo website on 15 July 2015 – Public given chance to shape Exeter’s cycle network

DCC asked their transport consultants, Jacobs, to draw up some initial thoughts for 3 cycle routes to become part of Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network:
E3: Redhayes Bridge to City Centre
E4: Redhayes Bridge to University
E9 Newcourt to City Centre

The DCC consultation pages give all sorts of details with maps, along with the aims and challenges to be faced as Devon CC try to develop a network of urban cycle routes.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 09.08.35
Overview map of proposed Exeter Strategic Cycle Routes

The cycle route plans are very much in the early stages of planning and the suggested routes are definitely not fixed.  This initial consultation period is being run so that all options and issues can be considered at an early stage, to help shape the plans before any detailed design or formal planning process is implemented.

So far, so good.

But it seems that route E3 has caused some controversy.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 09.12.45
Proposed route of E3: Redhayes Bridge to City Centre – note dotted blue route as alternative to cycle-path through Higher Cemetery

There is a proposal for part of the route to pass around the perimeter of Higher Cemetery – although it is important to note that the map also details an alternative route along Hanover Road.

Alternative route, avoiding Higher Cemetery


Concerns have been raised  – Mapped: New Cranbrook to Exeter cycle route will take riders through city cemetery [E&E, 29 July 2015] and Anger over plans for cycle path through Exeter cemetery [E&E, 03 August 2015]. There are plenty of comments appended to these articles, and even more to their Facebook links.

Some local residents think that this is part of a planning application – it need to be stated clearly that Devon County Council [as Local Highways Authority] has NOT lodged any planning application with Exeter City Council [as Local Planning Authority].

As yet, there are no definite timescales for the project as funding is yet to be sought.

Indeed, it’s my guess that if/when funding is found it maybe only 1 or 2 or the 3 proposals can be advanced.

However, DCC are keen to schemes ready to go so that they can be implemented once funding has been identified.  Despite the online public consultation ending on 14 August, they will be ongoing dialogue with numerous groups and individuals to help shape the plans further.